Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Transfer Day Finale - Winners and Losers

What a frenetic 24 hours! After a relatively quiet summer transfer window due, in no small part, to the economic choke hold gripping every debt-laden club around the world, August 31st closed with a bang. Big name players, overpriced players, and a cheeky cheeky move by a certain north London club chairman. It's safe to say the face of many leagues changed dramatically across Europe.

Now that the dust has settled, here are the winners and losers from yesterday's action.


AC Milan - How can you not start with the rossoneri. After a scheduled medical at 1:30pm, Robinho emerged from the prodding at 4:53pm confirming his transfer to Milan for approximately £15m (might be a little more or less). Milan then sold forwards Marco Borriello and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to Roma and Schalke respectively, and the aging 32 year center back Kakha Kaladze to Genoa. Now the implications.

Sensational dealing and strategy from Milan. They made sure to offload "excess baggage" in order to accommodate Robinho and Ibrahimovic. Can you blame them? But in choosing to sell two forwards, opponents should expect nothing short of Robinho, Ibrahimovic, Pato, and a now fitter looking Ronaldinho on the pitch at all times. A tandem which would send shivers down anyone's spine...on paper at least. We'll need to wait and see if this can bring AC Milan back to glory. Be sure to mark your calendars for October 19th and November 3rd when they face Real Madrid in the Champions League. It might be a decent game...

FC Schalke - A promoted team defeating last year's champs 2-0 and comfortably sitting in first place has already drawn people's attention to Germany. Raúl's arrival did. So too will Klass-Jan Huntelaar and José Manuel Jurado who strangely enough scored for his now ex-club Atlético Madrid over the weekend. Two fine strikers to pair up with Jefferson Farfán and a tidy midfielder who is already off to a hot start will help Schalke who desperately need it. Sitting on no points and two losses at the bottom of the table.

Hércules CF - Okay. So maybe they are a newly promoted side in Spain who will probably go back down at the end of the season. But accordingly to this criteria, they have successfully changed the face of their club. Royston Drenthe arrived from Real Madrid - although he has underachieved and rarely featured in three years with Madrid. And the shocker of them all - David Trezeguet. After a triumphant ten year career with Juventus which included 138 goals in 245 appearances, the Frenchman decided it was time for a new challenge. "I wanted to know the Spanish league. For me it was an important objective in my career." Well, at 32 years old and a career coming to a close, he deserves to make this dream move. Scoring and wins will be scarce, but expect full stadiums and lots of excitement for the small Alicante side.

Barcelona - Getting rid of Hleb wasn't the winner. The new regime's fiscal responsibility was.  Spending big money (money the club simply doesn't have) on a midfield reinforcement would have been stupid. Looking ahead over the next couple years, transfer funds will remain scarce. So instead, the team locked in Seydou Keita until 2014. No transfer fee, affordable wages, and Pep Guardiola gets to keep a player he has become very reliant upon.

Tottenham - "C'mon you Spurs!" After a cranky weekend, Harry Redknapp looks to have stolen one of the top talents of the summer in Rafael Van Der Vart. After an initial agreement with Real Madrid for a season long loan, los blancos reneged at 5:55pm London time - five minutes before the window closed. They wanted some cash - and why not after spending £66.26 million over the summer. Chairman Daniel Levy then rushed in a last-second £8 million bid which Real Madrid approved. Tottenham not awaits a ruling by the league if necessary documents were submitted in time. All signs point to it being ok.

Germany - In addition to Schalke, Stuttgart acquired Mauro Camoranesi who also departed Juventus after an eight year stay. Germany now has more faces, and more talent to add to what is already the most competitive and fascinating league in Europe so far.

Arsenal - Were this Greece or possibly certain problem areas of Italy or Turkey, the Emirates would be burning. Arsène Wenger has once again failed to sign a goalkeeper - maybe I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt here, so let me rephrase. Wenger has once again neglected to fork up a little bit of cash and fill the most CRUCIAL POSITION ON HIS TEAM. Mark Schwarzer and Shay Given were there for the taking but those clubs just couldn't agree to the embarrassing and insulting bids made by Arsenal. All gooner fans can hope for now is a miraculous season from Almunia, and ponder the guaranteed 4-5 extra wins a new goalie would have produced.
Sunderland - What a waste of £13 million on the Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan. Buying him at all is not the issue. 13 million for a man who has only scored 14 goals in the past two seasons is obscene. Especially when you consider the £15 million spent on Robinho - a player leaps and bounds better than Gyan. Not to mention the guy is only 24 and looks 64.

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